Transgender 101: Increasing Nursing Cultural Competence to Address Health Care Disparities
Neira, Paula M.
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Session presented on Thursday, September 25, 2014: Historically, transgender individuals health needs have been largely ignored by American medicine and nursing. It is only within the past few decades that the American Medical Association has acknowledged that transgender-related care is medically necessary and should be covered by insurance. Only in 2014, did the American Psychiatric Association recognize that merely being transgender was not a mental health disorder. The American Nurses Association is silent on any issue directly related to the care of transgender individuals. Transgender-related issues are either completely lacking, or are mentioned only in passing, in most current nursing textbooks, including those focused on cultural competency. Out of ignorance and prejudice, society at large often marginalizes transgender people. In many cases, the transgender individuals basic humanity and rights are not recognized. In the United States, in the general population, only 8% of people state that they even know someone who is transgender. However, times are changing. Healthy People 2020, for the first time, acknowledged the major healthcare discrepancy in the care and treatment of transgender individuals. Yet, traditional nursing education has not prepared students or nurses to provide culturally competent care to this population. Not surprisingly, most nurse educators have had little training or exposure to this population and what they do know is often wrong and based on negative stereotypes and myth. This poster presentation incorporates the presenters personal experiences as a nurse, a nurse educator, a lawyer, and as a patient. The poster provides nursing students, nurse educators, and direct care nurses, who practice in all care delivery settings, with an overview of the transgender population, the health concerns of the various communities in the transgender population, and the negative impacts societal discrimination has had on healthcare for this minority group. The presentation provides all nurses with information to improve their ability to care for this population, focusing on basic communication issues such as proper pronouns and language. The presentation provides nurse educators with methods to incorporate information about transgender patients into the academic curriculum to enhance the cultural competence of nursing students.